Wildfire Debris Removal Begins in Plumas County


With most properties in Plumas County cleared of household hazardous waste, today the state is starting wildfire debris removal as part of California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program.

The program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), works to remove eligible fire-related debris, including burned metal, concrete, contaminated soil and ash from burned properties at no cost to the property owners.

“With immense gratitude from local, state, and federal partners, Cal OES is proud to provide Plumas County and its residents the support and services they need to start the road to recovery,” said Cal OES Deputy Director Ryan Buras. “The State’s fire-related debris removal phase has begun, and I would encourage those who would like to be part of the State’s no-cost Consolidated Debris Removal Program to please visit your county’s website as soon as possible to download and submit a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form.”

Property owners, even those without debris removal insurance coverage, who would like to participation in the no out-of-pocket cost program need to complete and submit a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form to give government contractors permission to access impacted properties and begin debris cleanup. The forms are coordinated through individual counties.

“CalRecycle’s priority is to help wildfire survivors safely rebuild and restore their lives,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Wagoner said. “As climate change has made our wildfire season year-round, CalRecycle is committed to working with our local, state and federal partners to expedite recovery in California communities.”

Of the 725 homes damaged in 2021 wildfires, 476 property owners in Plumas County have already signed up to have the remains of their homes and other structures cleared by the state. The deadline for Plumas County property owners to submit their ROEs is November 15, 2021. The local government will review each ROE to ensure it’s been filled out correctly and then transfer the ROE to the state for processing and scheduling.

“Wildfires have devastated large portions of the North State, upending the lives of residents, destroying homes and livelihoods. An important part of the recovery process is to remove debris before efforts can begin to rebuild. Coordinating those efforts with the state Debris Removal program is a start,” said State Senator Brian Dahle (SD 1 – Bieber).

Property owners who’ve opted into the state program will be notified 24-48 hours prior to the start of debris removal operations on their property and may walk the property with crews before work begins.

It’s critical for all property owners with burned structures to clear debris, either through the Right of Entry Program or through the Alternate Debris Removal Program. In the Alternate Program, or Private Program, property owners can hire a private contractor, but health, safety and environmental standards for each program are the same. This includes compliance with all hazardous materials and asbestos standards, transportation and disposal of ash and debris at an approved facility, dust control measures, soil testing for toxic metals, best management practices for erosion control and hazard tree removal.

“We understand this has been a trying time for our community, but the good news is that we are on the road to recovery. Plumas County residents have options to remove wildfire debris from their property – either by entering the State Program or the Private Program through the county. I strongly encourage property owners to think about the choices available and make a decision soon so that our community can begin rebuilding,” said Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns.

In the Private Program, debris removal is done entirely at the homeowner’s expense, so property owners need to be sure the program is right for them before signing up. Learn more about the Alternative Debris and Hazard Tree Removal Program here.

For more information about either program, call the Plumas County ROE center at (530) 283-7080.

California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program

The State Consolidated Debris Removal Program has two phases:

In Phase I, local government, state and federal agencies have organized teams of experts and contractors to inspect the property and assess, make safe, and/or remove any household hazardous waste that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment, such as batteries, herbicides, pesticides, propane tanks, asbestos siding, and paints. Phase I is automatic and includes all residential properties destroyed by wildfires. The public can track the progress of statewide wildfire hazardous waste cleanup on a real-time dashboard mapping system. Information will be uploaded as soon as it’s available.

In Phase II, local, state, and federal officials will coordinate to conduct fire-related debris removal from properties elected to participate in the State Program by signing a Right-of-Entry Form.

Learn more about the State Consolidated Debris Removal Program, including Frequently Asked Questions, here. For more information on the state’s wildfire recovery efforts, visit Cal OES’s dedicated page.